LIFE GROUP LEADER GUIDE
For the week of January 19, 2020
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
These notes are designed to be a resource as you lead your Life Group each week.
BEGIN TO MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR SOCIAL & SERVICE PROJECT
Check our Community Service website for some options: northcoastcommunityservice.org You can also check out the Leader Tools page for social ideas. lifegroups.northcoastchurch.com/suggestions-for-socials/
Go over the Covenant with anyone who missed the first week. Remind anyone who hasn’t signed the Covenant to do so. Email it to your Life Group Admin, turn it in by mail, or drop it off at the office or Life Group box at the Info Booth on your campus by Sunday, January 26.
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT WEEK #2
Remember we’re on week #2 with your group. People are still acclimating, especially any new people. Lead your group through the questions according to how well everyone knows each other. There are plenty of questions in this guide to take you deeper. And remember, as a leader your goal each night is to lead your group in such a way that you hear from everyone and use the Bible as your guide. Know that if you do this each week the people in your group will grow! Remember you don’t need to cover all questions. Great conversation is far more important than covering all the questions.
Check out the Tips on Group Prayer at the end of this Leader’s Guide. If you have new people in your group, please make sure you go over this. And NEVER make someone pray. Group prayer is similar to public speaking, which is the #1 fear people have. More than once we’ve had people tell us they quit Life Groups because a well-intentioned person required everyone to pray.
Submit your group’s attendance online at northcoastchurch.com/attendance. If you’re not sure how to post attendance, you can check out the guide here. Don’t forget to let us know of any roster updates that you know of, or changes to your meeting day, time or location for the Fall quarter when you submit your attendance.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time, caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
Discussion Note: It is recommended that you chose one of the two questions below. Question one is more of a “Getting to Know You.” Question two is more of a “My Story” question.
Discussion Tip: Go around the circle and have everyone answer, or open it up to the group and ask someone who doesn’t talk much to answer. Remember, giving the group time limits helps keep one person from dominating the discussion.
- If you could binge one TV show on the network/streaming service of your choice, read one book/series of books, or listen to one podcast, which one would it be?
- As Chris mentioned, we’ve spent 55 weeks studying the book of Mark. Have you ever committed a significant amount of time (e.g. 30-90 days or one year) to something new (e.g. a new hobby, reading plan, devotional, diet, exercise)? If so, what impact did it have on you?
This week Chris talked about the fears each of us has when it comes to stepping out and sharing our story with someone we know. We are not the only ones who have had some fear when being asked to do something for God. As you read the passages below, how does Moses respond to God? What is God’s response to Moses?
Exodus 3:9-14 – 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
Exodus 4:9-17 – 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”
This question is intended to take a look at how one of our “biblical heroes” responds to being called by God to act in faith. It is interesting to follow the dialogue with Moses and God. How God will go with him. He encourages him to not be afraid. God then gets angry and gives him Aaron to go with him. This doesn’t seem so heroic; it seems very human. If you prefer to look at some other biblical characters, feel free to use the verses below.
- Why do you think God gets angry at Moses?
- Why might God give Moses his brother Aaron to join him?
What might this tell you about someone who experiences fear when they have the opportunity to act in faith and obedience to God?
This question is reflecting back to Moses’ fear and humanness. God reminds Moses that He created him, and that He is the great “I AM.” God then gets angry because Moses continues to push back in fear and He eventually sends Aaron with him.
Additional Question: How does Moses’ encounter with God bring you encouragement when you might feel fearful?
Have you had the opportunity to step out and share the difference God has made in your life with a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker? If so, what fears, feelings or emotions did you experience?
Discussion Note: Getting to discuss the fears we might have can be very encouraging. There is power when we realize that we are not the only one. And it is helpful to hear how others respond to their fear. Many times, when we shed light on our darkness (fears/feelings/emotions) the light overcomes the darkness.
- What is your response to sharing the truth of Jesus?
- As Chris mentioned in the message, do you respond with urgency, apathy, or fear when given the opportunity to share about Jesus?
Many years after the events in Exodus, the author of Acts describes Moses (Acts 7:22) as “powerful in speech.” How might time and perspective change the way we view our fears when acting in obedience to God?
Acts 7:22 – Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.
Act 7:22 is Luke telling the story of Moses and the impact he’s had on our faith. It is incredible to compare and contrast the accounts in Acts & Exodus. Having a perspective of looking back versus living in the moment can help us push past our fears.
- Do you think there is an appropriate fear when pondering whether to obey something we sense God is calling us to do?
- How does having an eternal perspective change my fears in the moment?
As we develop relationships, how we live and love others has an impact on those around us. Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, one of the darkest cities on the planet, and encourages them to be “salt and light.” Read Ephesians 5:8-17. What stands out to you about how we are to live as believers?
Ephesians 5:8-17 – 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Discussion Note: The are several routes to take when answering this question. Some options may go toward a behavior modification route (i.e. I am going to stop doing [blank], I am going to be more [blank]) or toward a closeness to God and growing my relationship with Him.
- Why is how we (as Christians) live important to those who don’t yet follow Jesus?
- What is the difference between living as believers, and being judgmental?
- What is one way we can live as believers and not be judgmental?
What might it look like for us to live as “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8)?
Discussion Note: Eph. 5:9 mentions the fruit of the light. See also Galatians 5:22-23 for the fruit of the spirit.
We have personal (and biblical) examples of people who have shared the love of Christ to us and/or to others. What have you observed about those people?
This question can help celebrate people that have influenced us and provide methods that can be helpful to others. Sometimes we can put biblical characters (and sometimes our own personal examples) up on a pedestal. Do they all need to be on a pedestal or can we see that they are human and have flaws too? It may be helpful to flip the script or to demystify the people that influenced us. This might help us to see ourselves as influencers in the future.
- What did you [not] observe about those people? (i.e. did it feel like a debate? does it need to end in a gospel presentation every time?)
- When we are more connected to the spirit of God, we are more likely to see through God’s eyes. What steps can we take to be more connected to God (Ephesians 5:18)?
- Is there a step you want to take, or a change you want to make when you think about your place of work, neighborhood, home, or friend circle?
Often when we read that Jesus commanded the church to “make disciples of all nations” it may seem like an overwhelming task. In this weekend’s sermon, we were encouraged “to not worry about the entire world but to worry about somebody in the world.” As you read 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, what do you see as our responsibility in telling someone about Jesus?
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 – 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
The text reminds us that we all are to play a role in the lives of others. None of us will be the entire story. This helps take the pressure off us to feel like we have one opportunity to influence someone and that we need to “close the deal” with every person we encounter. The other important principle here is that God does the growth, never us. This is important for us to remember and takes a lot of pressure off of us. Also take a look at the parable of the sower – Matthew 13:3-9, 11-23.
- What is our role in somebody else’s spiritual journey?
- What is God’s role in their spiritual journey?
Can you think of any people who influenced you on your journey to becoming a follower of Jesus? If so, what influenced you the most?
Hopefully people can reflect on multiple people who have had influence in their life. This can generate feelings of gratitude.
How might the impact of the people who influenced you motivate you to have a spiritual impact in the life of your three names you picked from this weekend’s message?
Additional Question: See the “Taking it Home” section.
Chris challenged each of us to think of three people we want to pray for. Who are your three people?
Which point from this weekend’s message or Life Group study is most important for you to remember?
Prayer Transition: The #1 fear most people have is speaking in public. Group prayer falls into this category. If you have new people in your group, going over “Tips on Group Prayer” (below) is crucial. In most cases it’s also a good reminder for returning groups. More than once, we’ve had people tell us they quit a Life Group or didn’t join a group because they had to pray out loud.
Additional Question (an important one for new groups): Prayer is an amazing avenue God has given us to communicate with Him and He with us. But we also come to it with a lot of different thoughts and feelings. Which of the following statements are most true for you?
- Prefer to pray silently instead of out loud
- Find my mind wandering when praying
- Like to write out prayers
- Look forward to time in prayer
- Don’t really know how to pray
Prayer is an important part of being in a Life Group. Over the years we’ve found that group prayer goes better when we follow three simple guidelines.
WE PRAY FOR ONE TOPIC AT A TIME – Anyone in the group is free to introduce a prayer request either before prayer begins or during the prayer time. Once a topic is introduced, the group focuses on that request alone. Once it’s covered, the group moves on to the next topic.
PRAY MORE THAN ONCE – Because the group is focusing on one topic at a time, each person is encouraged to pray several times during the prayer time for those topics they feel most led to pray about. No one is required to pray.
WE KEEP OUR PRAYERS SHORT AND SIMPLE – Group prayer goes better when members keep their prayers short and to the point. When someone prays for a long time, it’s hard for the other members to stay focused and long prayers tend to intimidate those who are just learning to pray out loud in a group. No one is required to pray out loud.